Family instability refers to a sudden change in parents’ residential and romantic relationships. It is manifested in various forms, such as separation, divorce, and romantic partners moving in or out of the home.
Many cases of family instability have been recorded among married couples aged 18 – 32 years. The troubles and struggles of family instability can be moved from generation to generation if family instabilities are not corrected, and children do not receive appropriate physical and emotional assistance when needed.
CAUSES OF FAMILY INSTABILITY IN UGANDA
Family instability can come in many forms; economic, emotional, social, and physical. However, the cause of these instabilities can be numerous. A number of them are discussed below:
DIFFERENCES IN EDUCATIONAL LEVELS
In Uganda, there are more cases of highly educated ladies than men; due to this, most females tend to disrespect their husbands. They value their educational levels and jobs more than their husbands and consider their partners useless since they earn higher salaries. This ends up causing chaos and fights in the house, and some of the partners end up running away from home, leaving the kids to suffer. In the case of males, when they marry uneducated ladies, they take advantage of them by engaging in extramarital affairs, which causes instability in the house. There are also instances where both partners are uneducated; hence any minor argument that pops up, they end up fighting, which sometimes leads to divorce. In a nutshell, the difference in educational levels breeds contempt.
Poverty is a state of being poor. It is said that sometimes poor men are very violent due to their inability to provide for their homes. Poverty sometimes brings disrespect to families, primarily when “the man of the house” or” head of the family” cannot provide basic amenities for the family. These men are insulted by their wives, deprived of food simply because they are financially bankrupt and called useless sometimes even in the presence of their children, thus causing fights and a lot of arguments in the family.
Some men in Uganda are estimated to have one of the highest alcohol per capita consumption levels in sub-Saharan Africa, with 25.6 litres of pure alcohol consumed among males per year. Alcoholism is associated with many serious social issues, including violence, child neglect, abuse and absenteeism in workplaces and homes. Alcoholism has undesirable impacts on economic well-being through reduced/ decreased work productivity. Alcoholism leads to amplified tension and conflict in romantic and family relationships.
Childlessness is one of the threats to family stability. Childlessness may be a result of the barrenness of the wife or the impotent of the husband. But whatever may be the case; children are needed not only to set up a family but also to perpetuate it. However, the most significant function of the family is procreation; once this is not performed, the family’s survival becomes uncertain and leads to instability.
EFFECTS OF FAMILY INSTABILITY
Family instability leads to family breakups, divorce, injuries and sometimes death. In several homes facing instability, children suffer and experience extreme mental and physical stress, for example, malnutrition.
Most of these children have worse academic and social outcomes, like inferior vocabulary skills and grade retention. In many cases, they tend to lack morals, low self-esteem, and fear. They also have unruly behaviours like smoking, drug abuse, vandalism, violence and criminal activities like theft. The increase in the number of street kids is due to family instability.
A man should always lay a strong foundation before he marries to have a stable marriage and family. Family instability usually leads to family breakups, divorce, injuries and sometimes death. Also, victims experience extreme mental and physical stress. Members of the family are encouraged to ensure that their family ties are strengthened.